6 Resistance Band Movements For Desk Days

We’ve all heard it; prolonged periods of sitting can wreak havoc on our bodies. Spending your 9-5 at a desk can lead to various health issues, including back pain, poor posture, and reduced mobility. However, regular movement breaks can help negate the effects of desk-work.

Below are six, simple resistance band movements that are targeted to counter the effects of sitting.

Banded Arm Extensions

This exercise helps improve shoulder posture - an ideal movement after being hunched over a keyboard. 

Before starting, ensure your shoulder mobility allows you to bring your hands close to your shoulder blade. Start by holding the band with one hand at the centre of your back. Use your free hand to take hold of the other end of the band.

1. Keep your shoulders relaxed and pull your shoulder blades back together.

2. Your lower arm is both pulling and acting as the anchor.

3. Keep your upper arm relatively close to your head, and maintain a neutral head position.

3. Look straight ahead and push the band straight up.

4. Feel a gentle stretch and focus on engaging your triceps.

5. Hold for a count of three and then lower.

The Archer

This exercise works the muscles in the back of the shoulder, including the posterior deltoids, lower trapezius muscles, and the rhomboids. Strengthening these muscles helps maintain proper posture.

1. Choose a resistance band that provides a challenging but manageable level of resistance.

2. Hold onto the band either around your thumb or with your hand in a neutral position.

3. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, or you can opt for one foot in front of the other. Your foot placement doesn't significantly impact the exercise.

4. Ensure your shoulders remain relaxed and not hunched up. Keep your right elbow in the same plane as your left arm. While pulling, ensure that your elbow doesn't drop, and maintain the straight-arm position.

5. Imagine you are pulling back a bowstring, maintaining a straight arm. Pull the band for a count of one, two, three, and then relax.

6. After completing the desired reps on one side, switch to the other side.

7. Keep your gaze down the arm that is extended to maintain proper alignment.

Banded Squat

This exercise engages various lower body muscles, with an emphasis on the glutes and lateral stabilizers. These muscles support the knees and alleviate tension on the back, especially beneficial if you spend extended periods sitting.

1. Place the resistance band around both legs, either just below the knee or above the thigh.

2. Stand with your feet at a comfortable shoulder-to-hip width apart. Turn your toes out slightly if it is easier on your knees.

3. Keep your feet grounded evenly, distributing weight across your entire foot (avoid leaning too much on toes or heels).

4. Begin by descending into a squat, lowering your body by approximately 20-25 degrees.

5. While descending, actively push your knees outward. Be careful not to lift your arches excessively. If needed, extend your arms forward to maintain an upright posture and avoid rounding your back.

6. Hold the squat position for a count of five, maintaining knee separation and proper posture. Stand up straight to reset your position.

7. Repeat the squat, aiming for a 45-degree, and 90-degree angle. Count to five and repeat.

Shoulder Girdle Extensions

Perform this drill with focus and control to effectively engage your shoulder girdle muscles and improve your shoulder stability. Start with a lighter resistance band to ensure the exercise is challenging but not too difficult.

1. Begin with your feet together, maintaining an upright posture.

2. Hold the band with the back of your hands facing each other. If you have any wrist or hand issues, you can also hold it at the back of the wrist.

3. Initiate the exercise by rolling your shoulders up and then allowing them to sink down. Ensure your shoulders do not rise during the exercise.

4. Maintain good posture by engaging your core muscles and stabilizing your scapula. Keep your neck relaxed and your elbows straight.

5. Begin in the lowest position and push your hands apart gently. Count to five, then return to the starting position.You don't need to extend too far; focus on feeling tension in the shoulder girdle muscles.

6. Repeat the movement at 45, 90 and 170 degrees from the original position.

7. As you go above 90 degrees, you'll activate the lower trapezius muscles, which help pull the shoulders back and down.

Scapular Stabilizer

This exercise helps improve posture and works on scapular stabilization. You'll feel your shoulder muscles (deltoids and triceps) working as you push your arms apart. Remember to ensure that the band resistance is challenging but never difficult.

1. Begin with your hands behind your back, holding onto the band (you can use the back of your hands). Keep your posture tall and straight.

2. Lift your shoulders up, roll them back, and then lower your shoulders, imagining your shoulder blades are going into your back pockets.

3. With your elbows straight, slowly pull your hands apart for a count of five.

4. Relax while keeping your shoulders down and maintain your gaze straight ahead. Repeat until you’ve reached your desired reps

Side Lunge

This exercise targets the leg muscles and specifically activates the abductors, which support both your back and knees.

1. Choose a band of your preference. For this demonstration, we’re using a light resistance fabric band. The movement should be challenging but not difficult.

2. Place the band around your ankles. Stand with your feet slightly apart so there is tension in the band, distributing your weight evenly between both feet.

3. Start by pushing with one leg to step away from the other, then return to the middle position. Try and keep the band taut at all times.

4. Repeat the same movement on the opposite side shifting your weight away from the center.

5. Alternate between pushing away from the left and right, dropping down into a slight squat with each step. 

6. Maintain a strong posture throughout. Avoid collapsing your trunk and keep your chest up, adopting an athletic stance.

Tricep Kickback

This movement primarily targets the triceps and enhances shoulder girdle stability. When the arms and shoulders are involved, the neck and mid to upper spine are also engaged.

1. Bend your knees and hips, allowing a controlled forward movement while minimizing stress on the lower back.

2. Maintain a firm grip with flat wrists and avoid locking elbows at the end of the movement. 

3. Avoid shoulder shrugging and neck involvement. 

4. You can customize sets, reps, and load based on fitness goals—higher reps for endurance, more weight for strength. 

5. Note - If you have limited shoulder extension, you should avoid this exercise to prevent shoulder issues. 

Lateral Arm Circles

This movement activates all the muscles of the arm, especially the deltoids. It’s also excellent for postural alignment. We’re using our 2lb hand weights in this demonstration, but feel free to adjust.

1. Lateral raise exercise focuses on shoulder girdle stability and motor control.

2. Make sure to keep the shoulder blades down and not close to the ear during arm circles.

3. Make sure to relax the neck and jaw throughout the movement.

4. Adjust your reps, sets, and weight based on your fitness goals (strength vs. endurance).